American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence, by Danny Sjursen

Most Americans ignore the Palestinian issue and the US media, when it reports on it, generally slants toward Israel. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

For a writer, any criticism of Israeli military action is a veritable “third-rail” in American politics. Touch that nerve and you’re open to charges of anti-Semitism or worse.

Still, recent events in Gaza demand that some of us, at least, shed light on the plight of Palestinians.

Let us begin with a thought experiment: imagine dozens of unarmed, protesting Caucasian Christians or Jews – say, Israelis or Europeans – were shot dead by heavily armed brown folks, like, say Palestinian Muslims. What would we call this? That’s easy: terrorism. How would the media cover such an event? Simple: extensively and emotionally, probably for many days. The smiling faces of the victims would be splashed across the screens of television networks from Fox News to MSNBC.

Heck, for proof just look to the recent past: terror attacks in France and Belgium, for instance. Certainly, even decades back, Americans demonstrated more empathy for white, Christian victims. When, in 1972, British paratroopers fired into a crowd of demonstrators in Northern Ireland, killing thirteen, the episode was christened Bloody Sunday. I come from a city (New York) where sympathy for the catholic Irish was so robust that certain bars overtly collected money in tip jars for “terrorists” in the IRA well into the 1990s.

Well, something remarkably similar has occurred over the last two weeks, as thousands of Palestinians – protesting the deplorable conditions for the 1.8 million human beings besieged in Gaza – were subjected to Israeli Army gunfire that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. To date, not a single Israeli has been killed. This is typical of the recurrent violent episodes in Gaza. Scores or hundreds of Palestinians die – often including many women and children – whilst a few, if any, Israelis are killed or wounded. Still, mainstream U.S. media covers each incident as though there is parity of blame, responsibility, and suffering. It’s a very old and very persistent farce.

To continue reading: American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence

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